Where it all started
and where we are today!
MCC of Harrisburg was founded in 1980 as a ministry extension of Metropolitan Community Church of Philadelphia. Rev. Bruce Hughes from Philadelphia and Gary Norton from Williamsport were the leaders active in planting our church.
In 1983 under the leadership of Rev. Pat Lichty, our community engaged important spiritual work to widen the circle of our diversity and inclusion. Rev. Lichty taught us about inclusive language: to be sensitized culturally, racially, and aware of people with disabilities. Today inclusive language and worship is an important way we live out the value of diversity.
The founding years from 1983-1986 were a time of deep challenge for our small congregation. It was during this difficult time that MCC of Harrisburg changed its name, to reflect how the Holy Spirit was moving in our midst, becoming MCC of the Spirit.
For 16 years, MCC of the Spirit met in the Quaker Meeting House at the corner of 6th and Herr Streets. The church’s office was originally on Front Street, and then in 2 different locations on Green Street. In 1996, MCC of the Spirit became the first LGBT non-profit organization in Harrisburg to purchase their own building at 2973 Jefferson Street.
In 1986 Rev. Karon VanGelder received a call to ministry and a vision for MCC of the Spirit. In the fall of 1991, the District appointed Rev. Eva O'Diam to begin as interim pastor for 6 months. Later that same year, Rev. O'Diam was voted as Pastor and served our community faithfully for 17 years. Under Rev. O’Diam’s leadership, the church purchased its current facility, expanded its worship life and music ministry, and grew to over 120 members.
In the spring of 2009, Rev. Charles Tigard was appointed and unanimously called by the Board of Directors to serve as our intentional interim pastor.
Rev. Dr. Lori E. Hatch-Rivera joined us in February 2011 as our senior pastor. Rev. Dr. Lawrence F. Keiser, II became the Assoc. Pastor of Music and Administration in 2017. Together they create a worship experience from diverse backgrounds.
Metropolitan Community Church of the Spirit has been a leading voice in Central Pennsylvania for LGBT rights and spirituality. We continue to host the "Sharing Our Caring" HIV/AIDS dinners the 2nd Monday of each Month. Our Church also hosts TransCentral, an advocacy group for the transgender community; and Food Not Bombs, a group that makes hot meals for the homeless and goes out to the streets to serve them each week. Our Hand Up Ministry provides clothing and hygiene products twice a month to the homeless in downtown Harrisburg and Feeding the Spirit provides a weekly lunch, on Thursdays, to the homeless and working poor of downtown Harrisburg.
Throughout the year there are a variety of events hosted at the church, including drag shows, plays, musicals, interfaith services, game nights...and so much more!
The doors of our church are open every Sunday for transformational worship. We are a safe place where people are welcomed as they journey to discover and accept who they are and where all people may encounter the love of God.
Whoever you are and wherever you come from on your life's journey, there is a place for you at MCC of the Spirit.